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Rep. Hall's FINAL 2021 Legislative Summary!

The 2021 General Session of the Utah State Legislature is complete! Thank you so much for all your support.  It is truly an honor to represent the great residents of District 33.  Just a few highlights from the week:
 
This Week at the Capitol & Other Info
 
  • End of the 2021 Legislative Session!

The 2021 Utah legislative session is over. Thanks to all those who made it possible. Quite the ride over the last 45 days. We were able to accomplish many great things, including a historic increase to education funding at a time when many States are slashing education budgets. It is such a great honor representing the wonderful residents of House District 33 at the State Capitol. Thank you!




 
  • "Visit" to the Capitol by Rolling Meadows Elementary

Rolling Meadows Elementary 5th Grade Class! Most years the Capitol is full of elementary students. We miss them! It was so great to talk to this wonderful group of students via zoom. Thanks for the questions and the visit!




 
  • James - Intern Extraordinaire

My intern (James) and I snuck into the Governor's office this week to take a photo with Governor Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson. James was my amazing intern this year, from Brigham Young University. Interns are such a big part of the Session. They do everything from interacting with constituents, keeping track of bills, helping us pass our bills, keeping us on time, scheduling meetings, giving tours, etc., etc., etc. Thanks James for all your great work during the Session!




 
  • Vaccine Distribution

The following are now eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.
  • Healthcare workers
  • Longterm care facility staff and residents
  • First responders
  • Ages 50(!) and older (effective tomorrow 3/8/2021)
  • K-12 teachers and school staff
  • Ages 16 and older with certain underlying medical conditions
Visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution for more information.


2021 Legislative Highlights - Video


One of the challenges of following the legislative session is that there are simply too many items to follow. For that reason, our staff has put together a short 2:24 minute video explaining some of the highlights! Take a look here. 




 
2021 Legislation

This last week we continued the process of voting on non-budget bills.  Of course, you can always watch the news reports.  But the best way to track any legislation is at the Legislature's website at http://le.utah.gov.  Here are a few of the more interesting bills that were discussed this last week:
  • The legislature approved $50 million to combat homelessness and to provide affordable housing [Tribune].
  • Legislators repealed a bail reform measure just months after it went into effect [Tribune].
  • Lawmakers okayed the $1.23 billion transportation funding package [Tribune].
  • In a bill negotiated with the executive branch, the legislature reins in the Utah House Thursday [Tribune].
  • Limits on the use of facial recognition technology in Utah could soon become law under a bill that is headed to Gov. Cox's desk [Tribune].
  • Basement apartments could be one solution to the affordable housing crisis. A bill allowing more of those short-term rentals was approved by the Utah Senate [Tribune].
  • A new agency to ensure Utah is getting its fair share of water from the Colorado River won approval from lawmakers and now awaits the governor's signature [Tribune].
  • Lawmakers approved setting up a commission to review potential designs to replace the state flag. [Tribune].
 
2021 Budget

One item from each legislative session that doesn't get as much attention as it should, is the State's budget. We still have a week to go, and things can change between now and then. But here is the direction we are going at this point. These are the highlights of what the 2021 budge will likely look like:
  • $400 million additional funding for K-12 education
  • $122 million for teacher bonuses
  • $211 million for building construction projects, much of it for higher education, including buildings for Salt Lake Community College, Utah State, University of Utah and SUU.
  • $56 million for increased healthcare services for low income residents
  • $50 million toward homelessness and affordable housing programs
Additional details can be found here
 

Rep. Hall's Legislation

I had several bills this session, here are a few:
 
Many of you remember when West Valley City Officer Cody Brotherson was killed in the line of duty in 2016. The juveniles were sentenced in the juvenile system to stay in custody until they were 21 years old. However,  through some strange circumstances, two of the three juveniles were released from custody early!

Cody is a hero in West Valley, and this bill will prevent this circumstance from ever happening again.

I was happy to team up with Sen. Karen Mayne to get this bill passed. Here are some photos after it passed in the Senate.



 
  • HB147 - Revenge Porn Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 70-0 in the House. Passed 24-0 in the Senate.
I sponsored the original revenge porn bill several years ago with democratic Rep. Marie Poulson. It was great to work with her in a bipartisan manner. This issue came to light during the Lauren McCluskey investigation when an investigating officer showed intimate images of Ms. McCluskey to fellow officers, outside the scope of his employment. The revenge porn wasn't able to be used to prosecute the officer because it requires the victim to suffer "actual emotional distress." And since Ms. McCluskey was already deceased, the revenge porn law was unable to be used to prosecute the officer. This bill would eliminate the "actual emotional distress" element if the victim is deceased, or otherwise incapacitated before the distribution of the intimate image.

See story here.
 
  • HB173 - Vote Reporting Requirements - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the 70-0 on the House. Passed the Senate 27-0.
It is already required for the County Clerks Office to regularly update the voting results after Election Day. However, it is currently not required for the Clerks Office to disclose how many ballots they have left to count. This bill would require just that - and provide additional transparency to the vote counting process.
 
This bill helps keeps opioids out of the hands of those who should not have them. Provide pharmacists employed by managed care organizations access to the controlled substance database when they suspect opioid fraud or abuse.
 
Two years ago, I passed a landmark bill regarding the legal standard required for electronic information to be obtained by law enforcement. This bill fine tunes that 2019 bill. Thanks to all those who have supported this effort!
 
Way too many large contracts were entered into during the early days of the pandemic. This bill stipulates that a no-bid emergency contract can last no longer than 30 days, except in the case of a natural disaster, and then they would be limited to 60 days. A pandemic does not meet the definition of “natural disaster.” After the emergency contracts expire, the state would go through the standard procurement process. Great bill to keep State contracts transparent, especially during times of emergency!
 
This bill eliminates income tax on some social security income, benefiting many Utah seniors on a fixed income. Wonderful bill! See details here.

 
  • HB416 - Local Tax Sales Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 73-0 in the House and 27-0 in the Senate.
Occasionally a County has to conduct a tax sale for real property. Current law states that the sale has to be done literally "at the front door of the county courthouse." This bill allows the County to conduct the sale electronically. This will allow more individuals to participate, ultimately returning more money back to the taxpayers. 
 
  • HB238 - Marriage Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 46-26 in the House. Passed 21-4 in the House.
There is a whole list of individuals that are authorized to perform wedding ceremonies, including the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, mayors of cities and counties, judges, and religious leaders. This bill adds all state senators and state representatives to the list. There are several other states that already allow state legislators to perform marriage ceremonies. 

 
  • HB182 - Educator Hearing Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 23-0 in the Senate and 72-0 in the House. 
I was asked to sponsor this bill by the teachers association. The law is vague regarding to which court an educator should appeal a termination they believe was unjustified. This bill clarifies that such appeals should go directly to the Utah Court of Appeals.

 
It is already a felony to threaten a judge or member of the board of pardons in relation to a criminal case. There have been a few instances that make it clear that such penalty should also apply to prosecutors in order to make it clear that such threats and intimidation to prosecutors is absolutely not acceptable.
 
"Knock and announce" and "no-knock" warrants are some of the most dangerous situations our amazing law enforcement officers can find themselves in. This bill would limit these no-knock and knock and announce warrants. See a detailed story regarding the specifics of the bill here from the Deseret News.
 
Thanks for returning your survey!
 
I mailed a survey to constituents within District 33.  The answers you provide to these survey questions are invaluable. I am very interested in your perspectives. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.  If you're interested, you can still take the survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RepHall2021.  Thank you so much!
 
 
 
What Now?


The regular Session is done.  There's a chance we could have a Special Session, or a veto-override Session.  But other than that, all the legislators (including me) go back to their regular lives and jobs for the rest of the year.  We do meet in "interim sessions," which happen one day a month, to discuss possible bills, to study issues, and to recommend bills to the Senate or House for consideration. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss, or you would like me to look into some topic for next year's Session, please feel free to contact me at any time.  I will still have the occasional Town-Hall meeting, and I will keep you informed on when those will be held. I will also send out email updates after each "interim session."  For those that want more frequent updates follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hcraighall or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/votecraighall

We stayed to work on bills until around 11:00 pm on March 5.  This is a photo of the Capitol at around midnight when I left the Capitol.  It has truly been an honor to represent District 33.  Thank you for the opportunity!



 


Ways to Contact Representative Hall

I make a concerted effort to reach out to all of my constituents.  For that reason, I use as many different forms of communication as possible.  Most of you have received mail from me.  I also have frequent town hall meetings (more on that above).  You can follow me online at www.votecraighall.com.  For even more frequent updates, you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/votecraighall and/or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hcraighall.  You are also welcome to call my cell phone anytime.  (801) 573-1774.  I will be in many meetings throughout the legislative session, so if I don't answer right away, feel free to leave me a message and I'll try to call back as soon as possible.  I will also be sending out regular updates via email.  Probably the quickest way to get ahold of me is by email.  My legislative email address is chall@le.utah.gov.

Thanks for your support. Contact me anytime.

Read all previous email newsletters here: http://bit.ly/YJCYy1

Representative Craig Hall

Legislative email: chall@le.utah.gov
Personal email: hcraighall@yahoo.com
Website: www.votecraighall.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/votecraighall
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hcraighall
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774

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